Upcoming mini-comps? Another Cover Stories?

I was browsing stuff listed as recent events on the IF Wiki and came across Cover Stories. Looked like it would have been a lot of fun. Maga, any plans to do something like that again?

If not, are there any other mini-comps coming up? Now that I have a modicum of motivation, I want to do something with it while it lasts.

There’s the Two-Verb Title challenge! I was trying to figure something out for Embrace Eschew for a while, but eventually gave up - I had a good idea but I couldn’t quite make it work.

Ah, cool. I have a question, but I’ll post it there.

I’ve been vaguely thinking about running another minicomp sometime next year, yes, but that’ll definitely have to wait until after the XYZZYs, plus there are two or three of my own projects and some commitments to other authors… so I would be aiming for about April, most likely. (There’s also Spring Thing to think about, but I don’t think that minicomp entry should clash too much with that.)

Various ideas that have been percolating:

  • Cover Stories again! This would be easy and fun and popular.
  • Something a bit more like the Art Show, which I really miss, though perhaps a bit more single-category. Like SmoochieComp, this would be a blatant appeal to get more people to write games focusing on some particular aspect of IF that I’m personally interested in. I enjoy minicomps and speed-IFs and things, and I think they’re great as a way for authors to get things released and played in a lower-pressure environment than the Comp, but I also think that they can give people an excuse to not really push themselves. (Where people may just mean ‘me’.)
  • A Shuffle Minicomp, sort of riffing on Apollo 18+20 with a bit of Speed-IF Jacket thrown in, where every participant supplies N YouTube-able songs that they think could suggest good games, I shuffle them all up, and then assign N tracks to each participant; you choose one song from those assigned to you, and write a game for it. Would probably fail horribly when it turned out that nobody taking part had any musical tastes in common whatsoever, and would certainly produce the most discordant playlist in history.

All of those sound interesting to me!

I’ve been giving thought to the Spring Thing. It seems so far away. At the risk of losing my motivation between now and then, I kind of want to wait until January/February to start, because I know me. If I do something before then, I think I’d end up just releasing it as a non-comp game. I find it impossible to just let things sit. (Edit: Not that that’s bad. Releasing a big non-comp game would be cool, but then I’d still need to start something for Spring Thing.)

Some additional mini-comp ideas:

ParodyComp - A short parody of some other existing work of IF. Or non-IF. Or something.
SequelComp - A sequel to some existing work of IF; either your own, or with permission from the original author.
DayComp - Take a single day and write the best game you can. Speed-IF within a single day, as many hours as you can/will put in.
ChristmasComp - Pretty much anything related to the holiday season.

TrollComp could be fun…

How do you define a “mini-comp”?

Is there a definition? I’ve always taken it to mean competitions for shorter games, often involving speed-IF (IF written under a time constraint). Or, at least games without any expectation of length. Possibly, any competition other than the annual IFComp or Spring Thing. Or maybe one-off competitions that may not be expected to repeat.

I’d love a Threaded Conversation comp!

I still suggest an MST3k Comp!

That’s another definition of what a mini-comp might be: One where all the entries are expected to follow some set premise or design theme.

By the usage of this community, they’re community game-creation events with the following typical features:

  • minicomps have a specific theme, premise or mechanic that games aim to reflect (often loosely),
  • minicomps allow a longer period for creating games than a Speed-IF, but shorter than the IF Comp or Spring Thing; more than a week, probably not much more than a couple of months.
  • games are written specifically for the event, and not previously released; they are submitted to an organiser and released all at once, as a package,
  • minicomps are usually one-offs, or not consistently repeated (Introcomp fits a lot of the criteria for a minicomp, but we don’t generally call it one any more because it’s annual)

Some minicomps have judge voting or review panels, and/or prizes; many do not. The ‘comp’ in ‘minicomp’ is a historical artefact; ‘extended game jam’ would be a more accurate term for many of them.

I love this idea.

How about a RemakeComp, where people quickly knock together unashamedly shoddy parser versions of graphical games?

Are you aware of the Hugo mini-comps we’ve been doing for the past couple years? I think there’s going to be another one this year. We’d love to have you back!

At any rate, it’s good to hear from you again! I’ll have to wait to try your Twine game until after Comp season’s over, though. [emote];)[/emote]

There was the IF Arcade, many moons ago.

Thing is, what I like about minicomps is their potential to throw up unexpected gems. It’s also nice to have them function as places you can put out small games without the pressure and flak of the IF Comp, but I’m not really very keen on the idea of a minicomp where the premise sort of involves an implicit vow to only produce crap games.

I did see something about one at the IF Wiki. Did it already happen earlier this year?

It’ll still be there!

I’ve got a Hugo game in Ectocomp. It’s a three-hour thingy, though, so far less ambitious than what I’ve tried before. But it reminded me of how awesome I think Hugo is. If I can keep at it, hopefully I’ll still be motivated for the next Hugo comp!

Fair point, shoddy was a poor choice of words. I really meant, “I know I can’t really make a text game of Shadow of the Colossus, and I definitely can’t do it in a week, but won’t it be fun to try?”

That said, I still think TrollComp would be pretty amusing.

Hey, I was gonna make this thread! Well, I was gonna make a similar thread, after the the Comp was over, about why this year’s relative paucity of mini-comps might explain how this year’s Comp had such a low number of parser games entered. I’ve been thinking about this subject ever since Ectocomp, which has nearly as many entries as a mid-sized Comp and consists of more than half parser games to boot. I don’t have my reasoning worked out too well yet, but basically it goes like this: Mini-comps encourages productivity in one obvious way, by getting people to make games. However, they can also encourage productivity in other, subtler ways, by, e.g., encouraging a rusty programmer to brush up on whatever language they like to use, or getting a total newbie to do the same. Even if someone never enters a game, they might be so interested in the results that they’ll want to make one the next comp that comes around. And that’s not even getting into the added benefits a mini-comp has, like the extra exposure, or the relaxed standards as compared to the IF Comp.

2012 had the two big mini-comps, of course, and while 2011 may not have had any mini-comp that called itself such, there was still the two Speed-IFs, which generated a lot more conversation than Speed-IFs tend to (plus there was the larger than average Spring Thing, but admittedly that may have had more to do with Get Lamp). As for why Twine games weren’t affected by this, remember that they have their own community, which organizes game jams throughout the year. Plus, a choice-based game is going to have more appeal than a parser game at your Ludum Dares and whatnot, especially if you can just play the game in your browser.

Of course, this doesn’t account for things like burnout, and I can remember a time when it seemed like nobody could ever get a mini-comp off the ground (like, remember the guy who created all these different month-long mini-comps, and only three games were entered, total?). But in general I think having a couple mini-comps a year is a good idea, especially if they’re spaced out well.

To that end, here are some mini-comp ideas I would be willing to host myself:

  • Another Speed-IF Jacket, which always seemed to me to be the most fun ones. I think I could pull this off the easiest, even though there’s a bit more work involved than your usual Speed-IF.
  • Prisoner Comp, themed after the old TV show. I’d prefer to encourage works that are thematically inspired by the Prisoner than stuff that’s just straight up based on it, more because that tends to create more interesting works than any straightforward legal reason. I’d also like to have a proper judging panel for this, if at all possible. I may make this a Gravity Falls Comp instead; in that case, I may just make it a general mystery/conspiracy themed comp and encourage works based on/inspired by Twin Peaks, Foucalt’s Pendulum, The Invisibles, et al, and would try to time its release with the premiere of the second season, whenever that is.
  • Finally, the most complicated idea I have, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 40th Anniversary Tribute Album. I would definitely need some help with this one, and I can think of quite a few reasons it’d be hard to get off the ground. It’s too complicated; there’s a story we need to decide to what extent, if any, we’re going to follow; there’s the matter of figuring out what the hell the story’s about; and to top it all off, the most obvious release date of the day the album was released (November 18) overlaps too much with the Comp. Nonetheless I’d still like to give it a shot; if nothing else, I’ve got a killer idea for “it” and a serviceable one for “The Carpet Crawlers”.

I for one will make another new years comp, which had some interesting entries in the last years. The rules are basically write whatever game you want in whatever system you want and take as long as you like on it. The games are usually played on ClubFloyd (thanks Jacq) around New Years. I see it as a chance for authors as who didn’t make IFComp or didn’t get a chance to write anything in a given year to have at least a small game out there.